How Do You Feel About Menopause?
If you ask a woman born and/or raised in the US of any age what she believes about menopause, she’s likely to mention hot flashes, night sweats, depression, agitation, anxiety and a whole host of other symptoms that she’s either heard about or experienced.
Yet, if you ask the same question to other women around the world, living in other cultures, they won’t share the same perspective or experience. Why is this?
Lifestyle, Stress, & Culture Impact the Experience of Menopause
In 1970, anthropologist Marcha Flint studied menopausal experiences of non-western women, and she found that they varied starkly among cultures. Indian women, for example, complained of no symptoms other than menstrual changes, and the most common symptom for Japanese women was shoulder stiffness.
These variations in symptoms have prompted researchers’ thinking in the past several years…how does lifestyle, culture, and stress impact how women experience menopause? How can something as simple as how we discuss this normal hormonal transition come into play?
For American women who view it as a “disease,” it can be difficult to fight against the negativity you hear about your body in society. Yet, menopause hasn’t always been viewed as a medical condition. In fact, for women in the US, it only started being referred to this way in American society around the 1930s.
For women living in other cultures who view menopause differently, they often experience fewer symptoms. An empowered perspective may not seem like much, but matriarchal societies have demonstrated its value. Menopause is now a time for a woman to take on her own pursuits and focus on herself – make it a time of refocus, rebirth, and renewal rather than a period of ill health. Remember, menopause is not a disease.
How To Stay Empowered During and Beyond Menopause
- Prepare and educate yourself. If you’re in perimenopause, then it’s time for you to pick up Dr. Christiane Northrup’s The Wisdom of Menopause. Perimenopause occurs when the ovaries begin to decline in their production of estrogen several years before menopause starts. She’ll help define an empowered perspective for you. Did you know that women who have undergone early, surgical menopause in their 30s will still undergo a similar brain stimulation to menopause around age 50? This indicates that menopause is a biological urge for something more – it’s not just a hormonal change. You may desire freedom, time alone or new projects, and this is the time to go for it! Menopause isn’t something that occurs only because of your body. Menopause is a natural life transition that you can welcome with open arms, feel ready for, and engage with in a creative and inspiring way.
- Say goodbye to birth control, menstruation, and hormone cycling. These are integral feminine experiences, but few women will be sad to say goodbye to them. Menopause is defined as when your period stops, but you’ve only reached it when it’s been a full year since your period (no bleeding or spotting) has stopped. Many women look at this as a time of self-care, transition, and sexual freedom. When’s the last time you didn’t worry about getting pregnant or when your period may come?
- Explore your sex life. There’s increasing stigma that menopausal women and beyond can’t have great sex lives. This is due to a variety of symptoms they may experience. This article with Strategies for Staying Sexual After Menopause from the National Women’s Health Network helps address some of the most common issues. Don’t feel boxed in just because no one is talking about it.
- Reach out to others. One frustrating fact about menopause is that very few of us are talking about it. It’s not that women aren’t eager and willing to share their experiences; it’s the fact that it’s become a seemingly taboo topic. Many women feel like they can’t talk or ask about menopause in the same way that they could about childbirth, but you’ll find that many are perfectly open when asked and invited to discuss their experience with you. There shouldn’t be any shame or silence about menopause; we can be a part of shifting this perspective. It’s a perfectly natural hormonal shift that occurs in your body, and mind. Let’s celebrate this time together!
How Can Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs Help with Menopause?
With approximately 40 million women going through menopause in the US alone, you’re not in good company. Remaining empowered can help you realize that this is an opportunity for personal growth. Nothing is “wrong” with your body – everything you are experiencing is normal and opens your life to creativity, freedom, and abundance.
At Lotus Leaf Acupuncture & Wellness Center, we treat each person as an individual according to their unique expression and physical challenges. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs (read more here) are powerful therapies to help with:
- hot flashes & night sweats
- vaginal dryness
- irritability & mood swings
We’d love to help you restore, rejuvenate and feel empowered throughout this time of transition. Our previous blog let’s you know how we work specifically with menopause.
We recognize that is is a particularly stressful time right now during COVID-19. To help you with sheltering-at-home we have added a free guided loving-kindness meditation to help you restore calm and inner peace and relieve stress. Enjoy!
- Menopause Around the World. (2014, September 19). Retrieved April 15, 2020, from https://womeninbalance.org/2014/09/17/menopause-around-the-world/
- Menopause basics. (2019, March 18). Retrieved April 15, 2020, from https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-basics
- Strategies for Staying Sexual After Menopause. (2015, October 19). Retrieved April 15, 2020, from https://www.nwhn.org/strategies-for-staying-sexual-after-menopause/